Serious Reservations: The Cutting Edge Bistro Raises Eyebrows



Katherine DeVries

As students arrived on campus last week, they were met with many changes — a complete library, a colossal science building and renovated Greek houses to name a few. However, no change is under harsher scrutiny than the one which will be affecting the supply of many students’ most beloved commodity: food.

Over the summer, The Edge Caf?e — previously a buffet-style dining hall similar to Curtiss E. Frank Dining Hall — was transformed into the glitzy, reservations-only, on-campus restaurant: The Cutting Edge Bistro.

The plan to renovate The Edge was initiated last fall when student influx was insufficient during regular dining hall hours. While lunch was relatively busy with about 90 to 120 students each day, weekday breakfasts at the Edge were only serving around 10 to 20 people.

“Our goal was to take a facility that was underutilized and do something that would really make a difference,” Phil Sweeney of Dining Services said.

In the spring semester, Sweeney — who can be credited for most of the ideas behind The Cutting Edge Bistro — took the redesign to heart and began some serious research. Sweeney knew generally what he wanted out of the new dining-hall-turned-campus-restaurant, but in order to find more specific inspiration, he traveled to the Los Angeles metropolitan area and visited several restaurants and college dining facilities.

What Sweeney came up with is the almost unrecognizable culinary experience that has ousted the “old Edge.” In place of the once-available walk-in, self-seating the Cutting Edge Bistro now seats students at linen-draped tables complete with place settings, candles and flowered centerpieces. Students place orders on a touch screen upon entry — an idea Sweeney picked up from one of his California restaurant destinations — and food is be prepared to order.

The menu currently includes three salad options, nine dinner choices and four desserts, all of which will be changed bi-weekly. Each meal at the Edge still counts as one meal plan swipe and includes salad, entr?ee and desert.

During pre-orientation, dining services had several trial dinners at the Edge for different student groups — including the Link Staff — as well as a variety of faculty members. While their response was incredibly positive, when introduced to the idea, many of the students who arrived this weekend were disconcerted to say the least.

Students of all class years, but especially upperclassmen, have displayed concern about the change. Sophomore Kathleen Shaughnessy — who lives in Cutten Complex — expessed such reservations.

“It seems really inaccessible to students. It’s going to make all the other dining halls more crowded and no college student is going to want to make reservations at a dining hall.”

Bryan Complex — the sophomore residence hall in which the Edge is located — has also been echoing with complaints this past week.

“I, as well as a lot of my residents, was excited about living here because of how close and accessible all of our meals would be and this has been pretty disappointing,” Parke House Resident Advisor junior Chris Micsak said.

However, after actually visiting the Bistro, many have already rescinded their words.

During her first meal at the edge, the previously uncertain Shaughnessy stated excitedly that her crusted salmon served over pineapple rice was “unbelievable.”

“I think we were all just a little surprised at first,” sophomore Maddy MacNeil said. “It would have been nice to have been informed about it earlier but now that I’ve seen it I love it!”

The Cutting Edge Bistro offers warm bread and starters like tomato and mozzarella salad, Thai beef stir fry, a mushroom fettuccine pasta, pork or salmon as entr?ees, and cheesecake, pie, tarts or cream puffs for dessert.